The US' World Cup has come and gone. One of the final roster cuts and sure-to-be stalwarts of the next cycle, Orebro's Alejandro Bedoya has coughed up his answers to your Best XI questions.
I) I'm sure it was disappointing not to have made the final 23 for the World Cup, but you did yourself proud this year, and I'm looking forward to watching your development over the next cycle. With that in mind, how (if at all) did the pre-WC camp differ from the prior camps you've been called in for, and what do you take from that camp as you look to secure a spot over the next cycle?
- Frank LaSalle, New York, New York
Pre-WC camp differed in the sense that we were all vying for that ticket to South Africa. It was as intense as it could have been with everyone playing their hearts out. It was tough as well because as many will tell you it was probably the most fitness done at national team camp.
While we trained hard and played games, we were also doing a lot of fitness as a way of adjusting to altitude and also to get us ahead of possibly other teams. That extra run or amount of energy can go a long ways!
What I took away from it was the experience and with that in mind, I think I have become a better player with a lot more confidence. You get to see what it is like playing with the best of the best in the US and also where you stand.
II) One of the things that has impressed me most in your limited time with the national team is your skill set. Who or what helped you to develop this skill set the most?
- Will Krumich, Paris, Virginia
My skill set has to do with all the hard work put into trainings. It's all the little things like first touch, using both feet, and simple passing that goes a long way. I can say that every coach I have had has helped me improve my game.
However, my dad has been the most influential as he is very knowledgeable about the game and was always there for me to go out for extra training. He has always been very objective with me and always helped me get better in all areas of the game.
III) Noticed on your twitter that you play a lot of FIFA 10. Were you happy with your player rating? Did you change it once you got the game?
- Adam Tanner, Flint, Michigan
My FIFA 10 rating is horrible. I haven't changed it but someone at FIFA contacted me after the Holland game and promised that for 2011 it will be a lot better
IV) Where do you see yourself two seasons from now?
- Dakota Sillyman, Kingsport, Tennessee
In two seasons I think I see myself in a league that is considered a much higher level than the Swedish league. This is not to say anything bad about Sweden, but as a player you are always looking to improve and for bigger and better challenges.
My goal is to play at the highest level possible and in two years I see it as a step in the right direction to be at good club in a solid league.
V) Before every game, I always jam out to "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor on my iPod. I also always practice in the same old pair of tattered purple shorts the day before a big game. Do you have any pre-game rituals like this?
- Olivia Wildebeet, East Lansing, Michigan
Songs I will play before the game are songs that make me get focused and think of positive inspirational things. But I listen to a lot of hop-hop/R&B and Reggaeton (the older stuff). If any superstitions I have they include sleep before I leave for the game, putting things on my left foot before my right, and always the same prayers.
VI) I heard you like house and techno, who is your favorite? Tiesto? Deadmau5? Actually, it has to be Swedish House Mafia, doesn't it?
- Eric Beard, Boston, Massachusetts
I do like Swedish House Mafia but also Tiesto, David Guetta, Bob Sinclair, Yves Larock, Calvin Harris, Deep Dish and Armin Van Buuren just to name a few!
VII) I was curious to know how well your time at Boston College under coach Ed Kelly prepared you for your career in European soccer.
- Sal Cip, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA
I would say pretty well. I think in general the level in the ACC is pretty good and the best in the country. Sweden is very tactical so I had to adjust and learn a lot but in terms of playing the game I think at BC our team was very good and played a very attractive style which was good. We had good players and coaches!
VIII) What counsel would you give a young player looking to head to Europe to launch their career?
- Carr Schilling, Los Angeles, California
I would tell them that Europe is not all what it may seem. If you are coming over just for the money or because you think the name on the shirt will do you well, then you're going for the wrong reasons. Soccer is life over here and people are very passionate about it. You come over to Europe because you are willing to bust your butt and try to succeed at the highest level possible.
Every training is competitive and one must maintain a strong mental aspect. You are far from home so it is important to stay strong and work hard. I came here because I have ambitions of playing at the highest level, the atmosphere, the competitive nature and because I believe that I will not just become a better player but a better person!
IX) What's it feel like to be called up to USMNT? For those of us who never made it to that level, describe the feeling please.
- Charles Kestenbaum, Vienna, Virginia
It is a great feeling. It is hard to explain but as a little kid you always dream of playing at the highest level and I think representing your country is the greatest honor. I could not have been any happier than to play for USA and with the best of the best in the US.
To be there with some of the players you grow up watching is awesome and the experience is something that can never be taken away from me! My first time was unreal it was all nerves, happiness, and grateful emotions but also proud of myself for working hard to get there only knowing that I have reached a high point. But that only lasts very little because now the aim and goals become a lot higher and I now demand a lot more out of myself.
X) What is a virtue or quality of an outstanding player that someone new to the game may overlook?
- Lori Unterkoefler, South Orange, New Jersey
If by someone new to the game you mean someone who hasn't followed soccer or know anything about the sport, well then the biggest quality and virtue of a soccer player that gets overlooked is the first touch! Everything is pretty much about the first touch. It can determine a players set up for the cross, shot, or create more space oneself, get away from a defender or just be in a better position. It makes a huge difference!
XI) Following the up-and-coming players, such as you, is one of the aspects of soccer that intrigues me the most. Since you have an inside view on US soccer by being a part of the US national team, what players are you excited about playing with in the future. Thanks.
- Brent Allan, Cairo, Georgia
Well, I would just speak about the guys who are my age and that I know enough about. Obviously you have Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley who have established themselves on the team but I am looking forward to get more chances to playing with Charlie Davies who is a good friend of mine from BC, Maurice Edu, Sacha Kljestan, Robie Rogers, Benny Feilhaber, Freddy Adu, Stuart Holden, Chris Pontius, Omar Gonzalez and Jose Francisco Torres who was my roommate at Pre-WC camp and I think will become a very good player!
I named many but I think there is a good future in the USA with a lot of talented young players, but these guys I know well and we are all still young with a lot to develop.